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Tis True That There Are No Truths And Absolutely No Absolutes: A Scholarly Report

1121 words - 4 pages

What does man know? For years beyond count the scholarly elite and plebeians alike have toiled over the issues berthed in human minds as a result of the theory of knowledge. What is knowledge? Is it relative or is it objective? Can a belief be justified as a truth? Can people truly know anything at all? The diversity among the philosophical viewpoints of history's most prominent academians does nothing, but add to the obscurity of the subject matter, making a firm grasp around a solid answer to the questions presented seem unattainable. Figures, like Rene Descartes, will argue, under the position of the rationalist, that knowledge is possible with the use of reason (Felder 126). Other philosophers, such as George Berkeley and John Locke, who both hold empiricist views, will also argue that knowledge can be gained. Their positions will hold that an application of logical reasoning combined with observation from the normal senses is the way to acquire knowledge (Felder 119). When attempting to tackle such a daunting subject intellectual perception must be conditioned to see and understand that there is no black and white; that a vast mass of gray areas exist and must be accounted for to validate any argument. Since efforts to prove or disprove that human beings can have truths are oriented on the basis of assumptions about the valid practices of creating knowledge (Hall 330) it can be sagaciously postulated that an acquisition of knowledge is, indeed, possible. Moreover, there is knowledge that is objective as well as knowledge that is relative.When building an argument it is important to first erect a foundation. So, in order to build a foundation fitting the proposed argument it is necessary to get some sort of clutch on what knowledge is. To David Hume, "the devastating skeptic… knowledge of any sort is an illusion" (Letwin 134). This viewpoint, however is flawed. For all intents, constructions, and purposes let the term knowledge be defined as an awareness and a familiarity with factual information and or principles. When such a simple definition can be manufactured why is the task of determining whether or not people can have knowledge met with so much difficulty? This is because a great number of philosophers, though brilliant, are quite stubborn and choose not to acknowledge the idea that there is more than one type of knowledge. Therefore, to visit the issue of the possibility to gain knowledge responsibly, one can not ignore the actuality of tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge that is rooted in individual experience with respect to beliefs, perspectives, and values while explicit knowledge refers to recorded or formal knowledge (Polanyi 12). When considering the existence of both tacit and explicit knowledge, the flaws in the position of Hume become exposed. When pitted against explicit knowledge Hume's "illusion" theory is defeated, for knowledge can not be an illusion when things that...

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